Job Journey: Interview Pro Tips

interview career laura machan
Job Journey: Interview Pro Tips
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About the Author

Laura Machan

Laura Machan

Laura Machan is a Partner, Recruitment Solutions for a major human resources consulting firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Although she has been recruiting for quite a few years, she still gets a big thrill from calling someone to set up an interview and an even bigger thrill when she hears a happy dance as she tells them when their new job starts. Laura lives with her family in Oakville, where she has lived for over 25 years, and is a significant contributor to the Canadian Federation of University Women - Oakville and Women in Nuclear, Golden Horseshoe Chapter.

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How do you prepare for a professional interview? I heard a fantastic phrase last week that really helped to put it into perspective. One of our senior sales leaders was talking with us about value propositions, enhanced authenticity and other eye rolling stuff. I was starting to glaze over when he came out with this gem:

Don’t just show up and throw up.

What a perfect way to describe what happens when you head into an interview and you are nervous as heck. The first question is thrown out and off you go. You do a complete and uncontrolled brain dump. Then you run out of oxygen and can no longer remember the question. So embarrassing…..

Don’t get me wrong. Nerves won’t ever go away. There should always be some anticipation and a sense of excitement when you meet with new people. I get that feeling even when I am meeting people I already know and I talk to strangers for a living.

The key is confidence and that comes with research and practice. Once you know you have secured an interview, research the company. Use LinkedIn, industry news sources and your network to find out what you can about the company. Look for information on growth, awards, competitors, culture, locations and values.

Spend some time thinking about your experience and what might be relevant to the hiring team. What stories could you share that would induce some good eyebrow raises and head nods?


Prepare five or six stories that illustrate how you deal with challenges, how you set priorities, how you tackle something new. Practice telling these stories. Make sure they sound smooth and they hang together so you don’t drift off in the middle.

A good career example is like a good joke. You have told it many times and you know when to pause and when to keep going to get the desired impact.

That preparation should allow you to walk in to an interview ready to share what you know and learn what they need. And that’s the goal.

Follow Laura Machan on twitter. She is a regular Oakville News contributor.



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